What a wonderful day we spent at the Safari West in Santa Rosa CA. This place is probably around 5 miles from our house yet we had never been there until this trip - why did we wait so long, I've asked myself.
The day we were there we had the amazing experience of seeing the birth of a brand new "baby" antelope (sorry don't remember the species) and the protective dominate male working with the baby to get it up on its feet while protecting it from all the interested females and males of the herd. The male would nudge the tiny white baby laying on the ground until it tried to raise itself on its feet, then the large male would use his legs - one on the right then one on the left - to guide the baby to stand and keep steady. Never had we seen this kind of behavior before. Amazing. In the same gated area, the antelopes shared the space with the giraffes - a one month old baby was quietly standing by itself observing all the adult giraffes and other antelopes. A large male giraffe came right up to the power wagon we were riding on, you could have touched him.
Then off to see the white rhinos, zebras (another baby born a few weeks before our trip), ostriches and the water buffalo. Our driver didn't get out of the power wagon in the water buffalo area as he said if he did they would probably attack - such huge beasts all sitting chewing their cud and watching us sitting in the power wagon in unison - made you think you could understand their collective powerful mind set.
The ride around the property is very interesting (bumpy and dusty) and our driver/guide was very informative. There is a large aviary near the entrance that the driver walked us through, protecting us from an aggressive bird or two. There was a leopard lying in his grassy enclosure, monkeys in treed enclosures, etc.
It was the last week of school so there were groups of children having field trips, but it didn't seem crowded at all. Our only disappointment was we had made reservations to have their BBQ lunch prior to our tour time but it was cancelled due to lack of attendees. Unfortunately we had not checked our messages and didn't know this, so we had arrived hungry. Our disappointment faded, however, when we ordered a delicious sandwich at the snack bar located near the boarding area.
Highly recommend this experience to anyone who loves nature and the outdoors. Bring sunglasses, sunscreen and a hat in case you get to sit outside on the top of the power wagon. Wear comfortable clothes and walking shoes as you need to climb into the power wagon. A GREAT place to take your kids for an amazing day!
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